By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — All eyes were on Matt Oberste. The Oklahoma slugger came into Friday riding a 26-game hit streak and was one short of tying the program record.
Oberste’s bat had been on fire the entire season, but it suddenly went cold against Texas Christian and OU coach Sunny Golloway had to look to the rest of the team to pick up the slack as they pulled out a 3-2 victory in 12 innings over the Horned Frogs at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
“It was too much pressure,” Golloway said. “Too much pressure for a college guy to have a chance to tie the all-time record, to be the first game in conference against the team that is supposed to challenge us for the championship. It was just too much pressure and his team picked him up. He knows it.”
No. 16 Oklahoma (20-4, 1-0 Big 12) extended its win streak to eight games, but none can lay claim to the unique ending between the Sooners and Horned Frogs.
Max White led off the bottom of the 12th with a single off Alex Young. Oberste came to the plate with an 0-4 day to the point and blasted a double to center field to extend his hit streak to a record-tying 27 games.
“I wasn’t trying to do anything big,” Oberste said. “I was just trying to get Max in scoring position. He did a great job of protecting me. I was just trying to get him over into scoring position. I didn’t care how I did it.”
Dylan Nil was then intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs. Hector Lorenzana made TCU (9-12, 1-4 Big 12) pay without taking a swing. Young’s first pitch turned into a passed ball that rolled to the backstop. White scored easily from third and was mobbed by a group of jubilant Sooners.
“If you keep putting pressure on your opponent, at some point good things are going to happen,” Golloway said. “We had men in scoring position throughout the extra innings. If you are in the dugout on the other side, you are feeling the pressure of the offense coming at you. I’ve always said, your best defense is a good offense.”
Despite having only one hit, Oberste, who finished 1-for-5 with an RBI, was happy to help the Sooners get the win and is thankful he had the extra opportunities to keep his hitting streak going. He is now tied with Marty Neff, who set the mark in 1991.
“It’s so special,” Oberste said. “It even gets the team excited. I am thankful the baseball gods blessed me with another two at bats.”
White went 3 for 5 with one run scored to lead the Sooners at the plate.
Ethan Carnes picked up the win in relief, but it was Jonathan Gray who carried the Sooners. Despite getting a no decision, he went 9 innings, allowed 1 earned run, fanned 12 batters and gave up three hits. With several pro scouts and general managers on hand, he put on a show.
“Gray speaks volumes,” Golloway said. “If I’m a GM of a major league baseball team, and I saw Jonathan Gray throw, I’d race home and try to figure out where our pick is and what we can do. Because that is a big league arm.”
Oklahoma got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second when freshman Hunter Haley smashed a bases-loaded single to right knocking in Kaleb Carpenter.
Gray had no-hitter through five innings. It was broken up by Cody Jones in the sixth inning with a bloop single to centerfield. Two batters later, Jones tied the game on a sacrifice fly.
The Horned Frogs’ Jantzen Witte tied the game in the top of then ninth with a sacrifice fly off Gray. The Sooners were unable to get anything going in the bottom of the ninth and sent the contest into extra innings, where OU found a way to win.
“That’s maturity,” Oberste said. “The freshmen didn’t give up. The new guys didn’t give up. That’s big for us to go into tomorrow’s game with so much confidence. I think we are going to pull out the win. A win to start conference play is huge. A series win would be even bigger.”
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